Oh god, I’m so sad to hear about Robin Williams, I cant stop crying. I never met him but that doesn’t mean I can’t be upset about his passing. I loved his work, he touched my heart, I’m upset. Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King are two of my favourite films. He was sublime in them, and shone in so many others.
Some people will say “he did it to himself, who cares?” I care.
Let me say it again. I care. Loss of life should be mourned. I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11 and I don’t know anyone in Gaza but it is so upsetting to see so many lives lost. If you don’t agree then I pity your lack of empathy.
Robin Williams was so amazing, funny, talented, and full of wackiness that people loved and adored, that was the side we all saw. We’re lucky he shared that with the world. He must have been a tortured soul too and that breaks my heart because I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone.
Mental illness does not discriminate. It will dominate anyone. Some people manage to get out of its grip, some don’t. For some, it’s a cyclical suffering, ups and downs like an endless roller-coaster you can’t get off, and on the lows you just have to grab on as hard as you can and hope you don’t let go and drop off into oblivion. Actually the highs can be like that too, because when I’m managing my depression I dread the fall. I know it’s going to come sometime, and it’s frightening because I don’t know how low I’ll go. Will I end up hospitalised again or will it be a manageable low?
One of the worst things about depression is that no matter what people tell you, you don’t believe it, you can’t hear it. They tell you they love you, how fantastic you are, they can reel off a list of your best qualities but you don’t believe it. They can even shout it from the rooftops, and you would hear it, but you wouldn’t believe it. Whether it’s true or whether they’re just saying that to try make you feel better, you don’t take it in. Most of the time people don’t even know you’re suffering, because you hide it. You don’t wan’t people to see you like that, just like you wouldn’t want them to see you naked. You hide the worst from everyone so when they see you on a good day, a day you can function, they think there’s nothing wrong with you. You both go home after a fairly nice day, and as soon as you get in, you crumple again, because when you’re at your lowest it’s exhausting to act normal. Or worse, it’s the other way. You talk openly about it, and they don’t want to know because they don’t know how to help, what to say, it makes them feel uncomfortable, helpless. I’ve misinterpreted this in the past, thinking that they don’t care, but it’s actually my illness making me blind to things. I can’t think clearly, I can’t see clearly. I know the people in my life care about me but I always wonder why.
The devastation suicide leaves in it’s wake is unfathomable, but when you’re ill you don’t think of it. You just want the mental torture to go away, your brain to be quiet. You don’t really want to die. Most of the time anyway. Sometimes you DO want to die, and you use things like drugs and alcohol, self-harm, anything you can, to try to stave off that ultimate action.
Sometimes none of those work so you go for that ultimate action, you decide to commit suicide. Sometimes you complete. Sometimes, you’re saved. It’s by no means a cowardly thing to do. Whether done impulsively, or whether planned, it’s not an easy thing to try to take your own life. Can you imagine the mental torture and distress someone must be in to do something like that? I don’t need to imagine it, I know.
I’ve been struggling lately, I’ve been seriously abusing sleeping tablets. I’ve had a lot of bad stuff in my life and having depression makes it so much harder to deal with, because I just shut down completely. I don’t really know that I have a good time of the year, but summer is particularly bad. On 1st August, Fri night, I’d reached that point where I needed extra help or I was putting my plan into action. I never call friends or family because I don’t want to upset or disturb them, so I reached for my phone trying to decide whether to call NHS24 or put my plan into action. That was when I noticed I had an email saying I’d been put in a GISHWHES team (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, run by the “Angelic” Misha Collins). You see, I’d registered but chickened out twice, so it was the last thing I expected, to be put back into a team (I had asked them to gift my registration to someone else).
Seeing I’d been put on a team put me in a tailspin, I didn’t know what to do. It eventually made me shelf my plan for the time being and contact the team members. I am so glad I did. They are amazing people. I had the craziest, exhausting, challenging, run-about-like-a-headless-chicken, fun week I’ve had in years.
GISHWHES literally saved my life.
People will say it brought me out my shell, that’s not entirely correct. I can come out my shell, I’ve always been able to. I’m either hiding from the world completely or making an arse of myself like this:
It hasn’t cured me either. I’ve had fun periods throughout my life but I’ve also had depression the whole time too. The two are not mutually exclusive. Various things have left me with complex-PTSD. So, that’s a joy.
The GISHWHES hunt is exhausting, in the best way possible, but now that I can sleep again, I’m sleeping ten hours straight because I worked so hard to be at the top of my game for my team so I wouldn’t let them down that I’m f*cked. Wouldn’t change a minute of it though. Not a single iota. Looking forward to next year’s hunt, in fact. I’ve made brilliant new friends, realised the “fun-crazy” me is still in here and I’m not just the “mentally ill-crazy” Tina with mental health problems.
I know some people get tired of me talking about these things openly but that’s their problem. I’m tired of mental health issues getting swept under the carpet. Talking about it is more likely to have people open up about their struggles, but I get told that my talking about self-harm and suicide will encourage others to do it. I’m sorry but I call BS on that. Or that they “pity my family” because how can I do these things and talk about it? I do these things to survive. The self-harm, the sleeping tablets, I do them so that I don’t put my plan into action. I rarely drink now, I control it, but at one point drink was becoming a problem. I drank to block the pain, but I’d get to a stage that made me more suicidal so I ended up being talked down off bridges or being taken to A&E by police until I was safe. Now, I cut and knock myself out when I can’t bear the mental torture. It’s not the healthiest coping mechanism but I’m alive so that’s a good thing right? We do what we have to.
You think I don’t want to live? I do. I want what everyone wants. To work, be loved, be happy. I’m just not getting those things yet. Maybe I never will.
I was medically retired last year because my workplace was actually a frequent trigger for my mental health problems. So now I’m sh*tting myself, wondering if I’m ever going to be able to work because I can barely function right now, there are triggers everywhere. Over Christmas 2013/14 I couldn’t handle it, I didn’t have the reserves to act normal, so I spent the fortnight in a sleeping tablet induced stupor. I know it hurt my family that I wasn’t with them, but if I had been there I would have been a wreck and I don’t like people seeing me like that, I didn’t want to spoil things for them. I know my illness takes its toll on my family and friends which is why I limit the time I spend around people. That’s quite sad isn’t it? Sometimes I think maybe it’d be a relief to my family if I just ended it, they’d know I was finally at peace. I was really close on Fri, but GISHWHES pulled me back.
Sometimes I’d just rather the torture end.
Maybe that’s what Robin was thinking too. I hope he’s at peace.
My heart goes out to his friends and family.
It’s not just loss, it is devastation.